Venezuela's socialist regime: "Long lines just prove stores have food!"
If a pol is part of the ruling party, and their governing philosophy or principles are utter crap--like socialism--the excuses always defy logic and common sense. And the worse things are, the more unbelievable the excuses.
This is the situation in Venezuela now. Plagued by shortages of most foods as well as things like detergent and toilet paper, Venezuelans have been waiting in huge lines outside every store in the capital. These lines start forming before dawn and are still there when the stores close.
The constant sight of these lines has been an irritant to the socialist regime, which has blamed the shortages on American sabotage--it's "an economic war waged by opponents seeking to topple the socialist government," see? Another boogeyman the regime blames is "greedy businessmen." In short, the regime blames anything *except* the system of price controls which the regime itself imposed. They either don't grasp--or probably simply ignore--that business aren't eager to sell at or below the cost of their goods.
Now a regime asshole bureaucrat with the grand title of "Food Security Regulator"--one Carlos Osorio by name--has stumbled on what he believes is a way to fool the people yet again. He appeared on state TV to lay out one of the most brazen "explanations" for the huge line:
“If there was no food in Venezuela, there would not be these lines we see here,” he said on state television. “We wouldn’t have so many people gathered at these installations. It’s the best demonstration we can have.”As this bureaucrat would have it, the huge lines outside the stores are simply proof! that those stores have food and/or other necessities. It's just wonderful!
|"Line? What line? Oh, this line just proves the stores have food!"|
You have to admire the disconnect from reality that can turn long lines into some sort of positive indicator--no matter how absurd. It's like Cuba or the old Soviet Union or the former East German regime claiming there were no shortages. Amazing.
Meanwhile others in the socialist regime were attacking the problem of long lines from a different angle. Not by lifting price controls or currency restrictions, of course. Not by doing a single thing that would increase the supply of anything. But by...wait for it...issuing a "directive" (the U.S. equivalent would be one of the emperor's executive orders) ordering that citizens can only shop at government-run food stores twice a week.
One imagines that if the new directive leaves the lines longer than the regime deems proper, they'll issue a new directive limiting citizens to shopping just once a week.
For socialist governments this is what passes for a brilliant solution.
The directive allows citizens to shop on certain days according to the last digit on their national food ID card. Oh, did we not mention that earlier? Yeah, the regime directed that all "ordinary" Venezuelans would have to have a food ID card. Of course if you're a member of the regime--the ruling class--this isn't an issue. Sort of like here in the U.S, where politicians in the ruling party can do whatever they like, without regard to silly "laws."
Oh, and did that regime "directive" solve the problem of long lines? Well, not exactly: The directive only applied to government-run stores. Meaning that people who were out of something simply went across the street and lined up at the few remaining non-government stores.
But not to worry: New directive in the works will cover them too. After all, we have to be fair about these things, eh comrade?